Art and Performance

The Best Jazz Concerts in Seattle in Spring 2016

Picks from Seattle Art and Performance
March 3, 2016
Don’t miss the Cyrus Chestnut Trio at Jazz Alley. One has to admire how Cyrus Chestnut handles a piano.

See a complete list of jazz concerts in Seattle this spring on our Things To Do calendar.

March 3–6

David Sanborn Electric Band

"Saxman supreme" and six-time Grammy-winning David Sanborn has played with Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Paul Simon, James Brown, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, and The Rolling Stones.

Jazz Alley

March 7

Studio Jazz Ensemble and Modern Band

New England Conservatory of Music–trained Cuong Vu, who's received praise from publications including the New Yorker and the New York Times, will lead the University of Washington's Modern Band in innovative arrangements and original compositions.

UW Meany Theatre

March 10

recommended Overton Berry and Bruce Phares Duo

Pianist Overton Berry and bassist Bruce Phares, a "legendary" Northwest jazz duo, join forces again to bring their classic jazz to Seattle's South End.

The Royal Room

March 10–13

An Intimate Evening with Jeffrey Osborne

Jeffrey Osborne, who began his singing career in 1969 with R&B/funk band LTD and has since released five gold and platinum solo albums, is now touring in support of his 12th album, 2013's A Time for Love.

Jazz Alley

March 13

recommended Meditations on Coltrane

I do not believe in God, but I do deeply believe in these humans, all of whom are dead: Baruch Spinoza, Lynn Margulis, and John Coltrane. The first is the father of philosophy; the second, the mother of biology; the third, the holy ghost of the highest art, music. What made John Coltrane so great? It was not his playing but the idea in his playing. Whenever he blows, you feel as if the construction, the improvement, the refinement of this idea has been resumed. Tonight, saxophonist Steve Griggs, bassist Evan Flory-Barnes, and drummer Gregg Keplinger will perform music inspired by this great American ghost. There will also be conversation between Griggs and Yashuhiro Fujioka, a Coltrane scholar. CM

The Royal Room

March 14

Pierre Bensusan

French Algerian acoustic guitarist Pierre Bensusan, whom the LA Times described as "one of the most unique and brilliant acoustic guitar veterans in the world music scene today," comes to Seattle on his 40th anniversary world tour.

The Royal Room

March 15

Earshot Jazz Presents: Seattle Jazz Awards

Since 1990, Earshot Jazz's Golden Ear Awards has recognized the accomplishments of Seattle jazz artists during the previous year and inducted significant artists into Seattle's Jazz Hall of Fame. Performances from Eugenie Jones—who herself is nominated for Northwest Vocalist and Northwest Recording of the Year—and her band will bookend the awards ceremony.

The Royal Room

March 16

Piano Starts Here: Fundraiser

In order to raise funds to repair the Royal Room's signature Steinway B piano, 20 of Seattle's best jazz pianists will perform the works of some of the all-time most prolific composers.

The Royal Room

March 17–20

Earl Klugh

Grammy-nominated Earl Klugh is one of the top acoustic guitar players of our day.

Jazz Alley

March 24

Greg Ruby & the Rhythm Runners

Seattle-based guitarist Greg Ruby and the Rhythm Runners will perform the unrecorded songs of Seattle jazz composer Frank D. Waldron, whom Ruby calls "one of the most important yet unknown figures in early Seattle jazz."

Kerry/Poncho Hall

March 24–27

Madeleine Peyroux

The jazz singer-songwriter and guitarist is touring in support of her anthology, Keep Me in Your Heart for a While: The Best of Madeleine Peyroux.

Jazz Alley

March 25

Hot Java Cool Jazz

All of the proceeds from tonight's jazz-stravaganza go toward the music programs of the schools whose students will be performing: Edmonds-Woodway, Garfield, Mount Si, Mountlake Terrace, and Roosevelt High Schools.

Paramount Theatre

Twelfth Annual Seattle-Kobe Female Jazz Vocalist Audition

The winners, one high school and one adult female jazz vocalist, will be flown to Kobe, our sister city in Japan, for the May 2015 Kobe Shinkaichi Jazz Queen Contest.

Jazz Alley

March 29–30

Davina & The Vagabonds

Jazz/blues/roots group Davina and the Vagabonds are known for their "New Orleans charm, Memphis soul swagger, dark theatrical moments that evoke Kurt Weill, and tender gospel passages."

Jazz Alley

April 5–6

Omar Sosa's Quarteto Afrocubano

Grammy-nominated, Cuban-born pianist OMarch Sosa and his Quarteto Afrocubano celebrate the release of their new album.

Jazz Alley

April 12–13

Kenny Werner and Joyce Moreno

Pianist Kenny Werner, who was awarded the 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship Award for his "musical journey" No Beginning No End, teams up with Brazilian singer-songwriter Joyce Moreno.

Jazz Alley

April 14

Jane Monheit

Grammy-nominated vocalist Jane Monheit pays tribute to legendary singer/scat queen Ella Fitzgerald.

Jazz Alley

April 16

Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra presents Bill Holman: The Composer's Composer

Jazz master Bill Holman will lead the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra in works he composed for the likes of Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, and Count Basie.

Benaroya Hall

April 26

Esma Redzepova & Folk Masters

Macedonian singer Esma Redzepova takes the stage for a night of Romani tunes.

The Royal Room

April 26–27

Oz Noy and Guests

Adventurous, Israeli-born guitarist/composer Oz Noy, who has toured and recorded with the likes of Harry Belafonte and Clay Aiken, will perform with bassist Jimmy Haslip and drummer Dave Weckl.

Jazz Alley

April 28– May 1

Kenny G

Grammy-winning, chart-topping saxophonist Kenny G, who grew up in Seward Park, returns to his roots.

Jazz Alley

May 5–8

recommended Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya

Back in the 1980s, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation operated only between 5 p.m. and midnight, and in the hour or so before programing started, the station would accompany the transmission test pattern with music. Often this music was by Abdullah Ibrahim, and often the tunes that flowed from the TV's speakers were either Ibrahim's exquisitely affirmative "Zimbabwe" or his masterpiece of jazz-jive "Mannenberg." What Ibrahim accomplished as an artist was to end the split between lyrical sensitivity and aggressive percussiveness. He is one of the giants of Africa. CM

Jazz Alley

May 10–11

recommended Cyrus Chestnut Trio

Baltimore-born Cyrus Chestnut is not an easy pianist to describe. He is technically brilliant but when he plays, it often sounds as if technique is not his main concern. Chestnut is the type who would prefer to say something badly that he wants to say rather than say well something that he does not want to say. Nevertheless, one always admires the way he handles a piano. It is like watching an experienced sailor on a yacht. He knows all of the ropes, all of the tricks, but prefers to use his instincts rather than maps. The boat is the same but the seas of his sounds are constantly changing. CM

Jazz Alley

May 12–15

Bettye Lavette and Walter "the Wolfman" Washington

Elvis Costello says Bettye Lavette is "one of R&B's great under-acknowledged vocalists."

Jazz Alley

May 17–18

Selwyn Birchwood Band

Lap-steel "monster" and guitar virtuoso Selwyn Birchwood takes the stage at Jazz Alley for two nights.

Jazz Alley

May 18–19

Jazz Innovations

Student jazz ensembles perform works by the icons of jazz and perform new works.

Brechemin Auditorium

May 19–22

Spyro Gyra

Jazz fusionists Spyro Gyra have performed more than 5,000 shows and released 31 albums in the last 40+ years.

Jazz Alley

May 28

The Seales Brothers Band

Blues and jazz meet, meld, fuse, and congregate when the Seales Brothers get together.

The Royal Room

June 2–4


It's the eighth annual festival of improvised music from some of the best experimental improvisers in the game, from guitarist Bill Frisell to bassist Reid Anderson from the Bad Plus.

UW Meany Studio Theater

June 7–8

The Bad Plus and Guests

Esteemed new jazz trio the Bad Plus, who have been called "equal parts amusing and awe-inspiring" by Rolling Stone, headline Jazz Alley.

Jazz Alley